1. Make sure your dog is well hydrated. Many dogs “turn their nose up” when offered water in the field. I add a little beef or chicken broth crystals to the water to give it flavor. Also, have a squirt bottle or folding cup with you in your vest. Pause every 15 – 20 minutes and have them drink a few ounces. Cold air is very dry. When dogs breathe heavily they expel moisture from their system much quicker than in 40 to 50 degree weather.
2. Rest your dog more often. Take a break to enjoy all the aspects of the hunt. Your dog’s legs and yours too will welcome a rest.
3. Increase the amount of food you give your dog during the hunting season. They are burning twice the calories compared to the off season. Also, add water to the food during the hunting season. I moisten the dry food to ensure hydration.
4. Get your dog on a dietary supplement such as our “Hunt Dog Hunt” formula. It contains antioxidants which will reduce fatigue and give your dog more energy in the field.
5. Carry some packaged “burger” foods in your vest. This provides a high energy snack along with some moisture. About 1/3 of a package three times during the day should suffice.
6. Put a chest protector on your dog. Their chests and bellies are in almost constant contact with snow which exposes the skin to extreme cold. Their undersides, especially shorthaired pointing breeds, have much less hair for protection. Also, hard crusty snow can actually cut your dog’s skin. This leads to another tip. . .
7. Dog Boots! Your dog has hair between its pads. This is especially true for the longer haired breeds. Ice can build up between the pads causing your dog to either stop to chew or to quit hunting altogether.
8. Last, but surely not least, make sure your travel kennel is equipped with an insulated cover. This especially holds true if your dog travels in the exposed bed of a pick up. Even if your truck has a topper unit, an insulated cover on the travel kennel will protect your dog from windy drafts that come in during travel at higher speeds.
May you all enjoy the changes the season brings. You will have less competition in public access areas and land owners are more apt to grant permission to hardy souls willing to brave the elements for late season hunting.
CJ & Shawnee